Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Splintered Light Hares WIP

Some work-in-progress of my Splintered Light Druid's Children hares. I tried dry-brushing the fur. It looks great on the table, much better than these photos show, but is very time consuming. I'll be trying a different technique on the rats. As for color schemes, the red coat below is just a base coat of the shadow color. I still have a  lot more work to do on these coats. The archers will have green jackets. The 'guard' units might have royal blue--not sure yet. I'm thinking of using 2nd Edition of Warlord from Reaper.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Road to Victory: 130. Panzer Lehr Division

It was beautiful weather today for a military reenactment: not a cloud in the sky, a slight breeze, and temps in the mid-80s. Granted, it was a bit warm to be wearing a wool uniform. As one of the organizers said, WWII uniforms weren't made to be worn in Florida.

We arrived shortly after 10 o'clock this morning. The festivities were in full swing. Since my wife was feeling under the weather, it was just Jeremy and myself today. We were hoping to take our neighbor, Bill Peebles, but he was out of town this weekend. Bill is an 86-year-old WWII vet who served in the 36th "Texas" Infantry Division from 1940 to 1943 as a .30cal machine gunner. He was in North Africa, landed in Sicily, fought at Anzio and into Rome, and then landed in the South of France. He ended his service as a gunner in the Air Commandos. He was wounded five times and survived being shot down over Germany. I'll have a special blog post soon about Bill and what he did for Jeremy a few weeks ago.

130. Panzer Lehr Division Reenactors
This evening's photos are of the 130. Panzer Lehr Division 5. Kompanie, a reenactment group here in Central Florida. (Click here for their website.) They have a sidecar and a "mobile" museum. The museum has a large collection of authentic artifacts, many of which were brought back by US servicemen after the war. Since I collect china, I enjoyed looking at china and silverware that once belonged to Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. A bit creepy to think they ate off the same plates I was looking at. Anyway, I bet you all are more interested in the hardware, so on with the photos!

MG42 and ammo boxes.

Motorcycle and sidecar.

In a rare moment, a German commander gives a friendly lift to a couple of American GI's on the promise of giving them some fresh strudel and hot kaffee. He might have been lying...
The Mobile World War II Museum

This original PIAT caught my attention. I can see why it took a brave soldier to fire one of these!

The German's encampment.

The kompanie lines up for a weapons demonstration.

Two young French partizans wander into the SS road block during the Normandy invasion. Luckily, their papers were in order and were allowed to pass.

Watching the German road block and waiting to attack are the lead elements of an American recon force. They'll have to hold the line until the M-8 Greyhound and rest of the force can catch up. Stay tuned for more reenactment photos, including American WWII units, Signal Corps, Vietnam, Union Civil War artillery, and modern equipment. And the battle at the road block!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Look Into My Eyes

I've been playing miniature games for several years now but have been painting miniatures for only the past three years. And I've been going extremely slowly at that! My biggest fear has been painting faces and eyes, especially eyes. Most miniature painters fear eyes for good reasons.

I attempted to paint eyes on the first figure I painted way back this month in 2008, my pirate below. The face is really basic and the eyes are creepy! Pretty good for a first attempt though. I still love this little figure. But those eyes! Shiver me timbers!

Fearing painting more creepy eyes, my next batch of figures had nothing but black dots or maybe brown slits. The eye sockets had no shading or anything. I painted all my Old Glory and West Wind 25mm Western figures like this in the summer of 2008, and I'm still working on some of those figures as I type! I also just realized that I have very few photos of my 30 Western figures on the blog--I have more painted but never shot them, so to speak. I'll try to rectify that. Still, the dot/slash style kind of works pretty good. Since the WW figures can have poorly sculpted eyes, it even helps some of the figures look better and meaner. I think this also works well on rank-and-file army figures.

Long Time No Paint
Since the summer of 2008, I have not painted a single 25mm face! (Looking at old posts, I realize I haven't done much period--but that is another story! One which I am rectifying!) When I got my Black Tree Design 28mm WWII Russians a few months ago, I wanted to do proper faces with proper eyes. I wanted to do proper shading and highlighting. I wanted to do proper 5 o'clock shadow and eyebrows. And so on. So I watched many painting videos and read many articles on painting faces. Painting is always a learning experience--part of the fun and frustration of the hobby.

The Russians Are Coming
This afternoon, I took some quick work-in-progress photos of my Russians. The photos aren't the best, but we'll fix that later. (This is also what happens when one goes to the eye doctor for an eye exam, gets his pupils dilated, and then tries to take photos of miniatures. Not one of my better ideas.)

The faces are not 100% complete. I need to work on the lips, eyebrows, and a few other details. But they give you an idea of what I've been doing and how I've progressed for the crazy-eyed pirate above. The photos still don't show the subtleties of the painting. (Dang, that sounds pompous!) You know the old saying: If you want to make your miniatures look horrible, take photos of them. Anyway, here they are. I can write some posts about how I painted them if folks are interested. These are only a few of the 40+ I have finished so far.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thrift Shop Find: Car Wars Gamebook

You must drive Orson Whitney, a controversial Church Elder, to San Francisco without letting him get killed in the process.

Welcome to the exciting world of Car Wars Adventure Gamebooks! I have been a gamebook geek since way back in early 1981 when I read my first. I don't remember what it was, but I was hooked. They were a nice change of pace from playing Zork on my Apple. Plus cheating was a bit easier with a gamebook--just a quick peek at Page 46 to see what happens when I open that door and then a quick peek at Page 87 to see what happens if I check the door for traps.... Oh, come on! What gamebook reader (player?) hasn't peeked ahead  just once!

This weekend at the local library used bookstore, I picked up a Very Fine copy of the Car Wars Adventure Gamebook: Badlands Run from 1987, paying a whopping 50 cents. The cover is still stiff and looks like no one ever opened it up to read. And get this. They had four more copies! Unfortunately, the other four were all badly damaged. Oh well. This book goes for $15 to $30 on the collector market. (Note, the photo above is not of my actual book. Just a photo I found online.) The cover just screams Car Wars and Mad Max. Back in the day, I was a big Car Wars player. This is the only CW book I've ever found. I also picked up a VF condition AD&D adventure gamebook #18 from 1988, but those are more common.

If you'd like more info on this book or adventure gamebooks in general, check out Demian's Gamebook Web Page.The link will take you to the Badlands Run page. Check those thrift shops for gamebooks. For us old guys, they can bring back some fond memories of misspent youth!